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Food Services: Surviving the Pandemic Onslaught 

By admin January 14, 2022

The last two years have seen great battles between keeping to tradition and embracing change, adapting to expectations versus meandering to avoid having to confirm to new expectations, and the list goes on.  

These were challenging moments for business owners, especially those in the food services industry. We have seen how food businesses and restaurants lost their profits and revenue as a result of not adapting to new expectations and customer needs. In Singapore, the food culture has drastically changed the purpose and how social nucleus dine in. Big families have to get used to eating separately as group dine-in is limited to not more than 5 per table. Australia for example, has imposed a limit of 4 per table. Spaces between tables have to be kept about 2 metres apart, downsizing the number of diners by approximately 30-40%. As a result, restaurants and event halls have seen the opportunity to offer competitive prices for events such as weddings and corporate events very challenging. Operating costs keep getting higher to manage the safe management measures while customer volume shrinks.


These scenarios will not change and businesses, especially those in the food services, need to embrace them. There are 3 broad strategies food establishments should consider as they look forward into 2022. 

  1. Minimise Trade Offs  
  • Reduced space utilisation to accommodate safe distancing has led to reduced dining-in volume. In addition, regulations limiting the number of gatherings within a group further define who would be able to dine out, together.  
  • Hence, it is absolute necessary to capture lost diners who are driven to dine at home. Tweak business model to fit in not only dining in and take-away customer segments but also those who requires the convenience of food delivery. 
  1. Embrace Digitalisation 
  • This may sound as a cliché but digitalising your business operations is of absolute necessary. Despite the drive for digitalisation across many economies, there are still pockets of food services providers who still refuse to embrace technology.  
  • The use of effective point of sale (POS) system will greatly reduce the duration, and order-taking and computing errors to process takeaway orders and order-taking. This frees up the manpower to perform other additional duties such as maintaining the cleanliness and reminding the safe management measure put in place by the authorities to avoid stiff penalties.  
  • Effective order-taking system would also facilitate the transition into a system to facilitate food delivery orders streaming in especially when volume increases 
  1. Revisit customer expectations 
  • Customers who would be dining at restaurants will be those who expect to be served well. As digital solutions replace some of the customer touchpoints, reducing the role of employees, their time could be better used to improve dining experience. 
  • Capitalising the reduced crowd ensures that better attention can be given to diners. Seek creative ways to please diners through checking their food arrives timely or maintaining the cleanliness of the dining area to enhance service quality. 

The end of the pandemic is still uncertain. However, what is certain is that food establishments have to evolve to emerge stronger than before. Optimise opportunities and resources available to align business toward the new norm. The future could be brighter than imagined.